The Northwave Celsius 2 GTX winter shoe is an ideal choice for climates that don’t often see bitterly cold winter temperatures. Northwave offers 3 different winter shoe options for both on-road and off-road usage. The Celsius 2 GTX has a lower level of insulation than the other offerings with a recommended temperature range of 15 to 50 F making it a winter boot that is capable of being deployed for spring and fall duties as well.
Northwave has been making a similar boot for many years. The current Celsius 2 GTX boot is an evolution of a tried-and-true design. The biggest changes over the past several years are less mesh near the bottom of the upper and more external reinforcement on the toe.
Even though the Northwave Celsius 2 GTX does not feature as much insulation as the other shoes in Northwave’s winter line-up, it still is great at combatting the major enemies of happy feet in cold conditions: winds, wet, and a constrictive fit.
The Celsius 2 GTX features a Gore-Tex Pique liner. No other company is as synonymous with wind and water resistance as is Gore. Combine that with the lower insulation properties and the breathability of the liner and you have a shoe perfect for keeping the elements out without turning the inside of the shoe into a sauna. The lowest cut-out on the liner at the top of the tongue is about 6 inches above the ground meaning your feet should stay dry when walking water crossings lower than this. I fully submerged the boots to just above ankle height for several minutes without any water penetration.
Obviously staying perched on the pedals will increase the depth of creeks that you can ford without getting your feet wet. The neoprene can be cinched fairly tight with the hook-and-loop closure, but small gaps, especially as the foot moves, mean that total submerging higher than the collar can let water in. Should this occur, the brilliance of the Gore-Tex liner is again shown as the breathability allows the feet to dry while keeping the wind off.
The shoe’s design is also excellent at keeping rain and spray out. And as an added bonus, it’s a quick clean by simply hosing them off when you get home before removing them.
I went up on my standard size by a half size. I have long and narrow feet and the toe box of the Celsius 2 GTX did feel a bit wide. That said, it provided ample space for thicker socks and allowed my feet room to move to keep the blood flowing. I did notice that the ball of my foot would move upward if I was to pull forcibly on the upstroke, but the heel retention system as well as the lacing and hook-and-loop closures kept the heel and ankle stationary.
The speed lacing system on the Celsius 2 GTX is quite ingenious for the boot’s intended environments. It provides a great fit with even pressure along the top of the foot. The simplicity of the mechanism, while generally protected from dirt and debris by the external shoe flaps, means it doesn’t gum up in nasty conditions. The closure mechanism and lacing are also designed to be easily managed even with gloved hands.
The sole is carbon reinforced with a natural rubber tread. The stiffness of the tread seems to predict that it will last many years, but it did make me a bit apprehensive about its grip. These worries were found to be unwarranted after my first scramble across wet rocks. The grip was great on both wet and loose surfaces. I haven’t yet given them the wet-sole-pub-floor test, so let me recommend caution in that environment until further research.
Overall the Northwave Celsius 2 GTX winter shoe is near perfect for my winter riding. It is well thought-out and feature packed. Internet retailers are currently selling this shoe for $150-$200 making it a great value for a winter boot that you’ll likely find yourself lacing up in fall and spring as well.